Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This weekly, 60-minute Canadian TV series was a spin-off of the popular Neverending Story feature films, which used an expert combination of live action and puppetry to convey the vital message that "Reading Is Fun -- and Good for You Besides." As in the films, the TV version focused on a young boy who, upon discovering a remarkable, mystical book, began reading the volume and allowing his imagination to run riot. In this instance, the 12-year-old protagonist, Bastian Balthasar Bux (Mark Rendall), used the book as his ticket into the wondrous land of Fantasia. Alas, Bastian's new home was threatened with extinction by an evil force known as the Nothing. Combining forces with handsome warrior Atreyu (Tyler Hines), Bastian endeavored to save both Fantasia and its ailing ruler, the Childlike Empress (Audrey Gardiner), who could only be "reborn" when she was given a suitable new name. The series' lavish special effects were provided by Big Bang Animation, while the whole affair was assembled in Québec by Muse Entertainment. In the United States, Tales From the Neverending Story debuted over the Hallmark cable network on October 6, 2001, around the same time that two similarly themed theatrical features, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Lord of the Rings, were raking in big bucks at the box office.